As it says on the tin above, I doubt that we will see a Dengaroo list top of the pile when the smoke clears on Sunday evening.
This is a bit close to the bone in terms of writing it, making a meme or two, adding links and publishing it on the web page before it all kicks off on Friday. Before going any further good luck to all those competing at Worlds 2016, especially the UK contingent who have flown over there. Most of whom will have probably had to hastily change their all-conquering triple jumpmaster lists in the past two weeks. And yes, to anyone flying Dengaroo, I apologise, but I feel you won’t win. I’m not saying you will not come second though, first of the losers, but I’m hedging that it will not be the coveted World Champion spot.
The Classic Dengaroo
Dengar: Lone Wolf, R5-P8, Zuckuss, Plasma Torpedoes, Zuckass, Counter Measures, Glitter Stim, Punishing One title
Manaroo: Push the limit, Unhinged AstroMech, Recon Specialist, feedback array, engine upgrade.
This is the Jeff Berling Classic he set upon the U.S. nationals with and lost out in the final to Duncan Howard’s Palpmobile Inquisitor and Soontir Fel Combo. Most commentators from the video and podcasts suggested he was unlucky but actually he was not. There is a good snappy two part sized article on taking the Sith blog which effectively explain why he was not unlucky with dice. Part two runs the numbers and moves.
What I am Not saying
For starters I am not saying that Dengaroo as a list is not very good.
I’m not saying that people who play it are not very good or looking for an easy win button.
I’m not saying that is does not hit hard or is easy to deal with.
And on a numbers front I have a reasonably good chance of being right purely because that even if 20% of the field flew Dengaroo, all things being equal, I have an 80% chance of being right about Dengaroo not winning Worlds.
I also had to scrap the ‘Why the M3-A Scyk Interceptor Won’t Win Worlds 2016’ article because of the new changes to the title.
As I was on the school run the other day my mind was wandering off on a tangent of what does Dengaroo remind me of from my myriad of miniature gaming? As I got closer to the school gates I almost bellowed Nob Bikerz out loud. This would have been very out of context to anyone else who would presume I was shouting an obscenity to either form of bike travel.
Without going into the stale old meat of Warhammer 40K in latter 4th editon and early to mid 5th edition Dengaroo behaves very similar to the once mighty Ork Nob biker list in which effectively your entire army consists of one unit that mulches through the enemy while having one or two soft units of grots,(space goblins that fall over if you breath in their general direction), to snag objectives on their own board edge to win the game.
The first time I played Nob Bikerz I lost, on the very last turn having realised too late where I was going wrong mid game. In that same tournament I ran into the same list again a few games later and tabled it without breaking sweat. From then on, every time I encountered it I won, using different armies too. Now the games were close at the positioning and early stages but once I had set up where and how I wanted to attack, it was a done deal. Sending a cheap unit or two to remove the Grots in the backfield also helped seal the deal. Fighting Dengaroo is no different in basic theory.
Dengaroo also borrows from Warmachine the Warcaster’s special ability mechanic. In a nutshell once per game your Leader/techno wizard/magic troll has a one use ability that you can activate that either buffs themselves or surrounding friendly units or de-buffs enemy units. The timing of this is crucial and game winning if right and game losing if wrong. The timing of triggering countermeasures with or without glitterstim is similar. If you are out of Dengar’s front arc then it’s still worth taking a pot shot or two with primary weapons but just don’t expect much from it.
The Soft Under belly
Much like a palp aces list if you can remove Manaroo from the equation then all of a sudden Dengar is much easier to deal with, two agility, nine health and the likelihood of no re-positioning. Trouble is that Manaroo is a lot quicker than the space cow and although not quite as maneuverable as Super Dash with Kannan crew, it can shift. Of course if Manaroo is blowing her actions on boost and barrel roll then there are no buffs for Dengar who will be mounting a pile of stress courtesy of Zuckass. The problem Dengar has compared to a Palp Ace or a Palp Defender list is that when Manaroo is gone Dengar is not in a good place, especially when sporting a pile of stress. Dengar relies on receiving the actions from Manaroo to mitigate incoming damage.
When Emperor Palpatine goes down in flames in his shuttle, (just like in the films), the remaining ships are still very much useable and game winning. Now if Dengar goes first you are left with Manaroo, a two agility and two attack ship. Not happy days if left one on one with almost any ace style ship.
The Tactical Shortcomings
Like the Nob Bikez, Degaroo has very little tactical variation. It hits hard and is survivable but the basic premise of every game is the same. Manaroo hides hugging the edges whilst Dengar steams forward generally in a middle position to engage. If you can circumvent Dengar and remove Manaroo and have a good enough ship or two for the end game you win. Drop Dengar first and it’s also a shoe in, although a bit harder to accomplish but not impossible.
This lack of tactical variation and the simple remedy in theory to neuter it is what I feel is the core to its weakness.
Since Berling’s success the list has proven popular but it’s also tricky to fly correctly and to get the timing of the activation of the various abilities right. Even the decision to Zuckass is not one to get overly carried away with. It’s hard not to go to a tournament and not see at least one person running a variation of it. Notably not always doing well, as much as this can be down to player skill, once you have played against it, whether you win or lose, you see the mechanic of it and can plan for it next time. The beauty of it in this respect is that the game to beat it is the same. Executing it of course is the harder part.
The new bogie man on the block and whether running with Palpatine or as a threesome it’s hard for Dengar to push through a tokened up defender, especially with Palpatine. That’s why Fel and the Inquisitor are good matches for it too with auto thrusters but the Defenders are more offensive and less susceptible to the painbot. Furthermore they are quick enough to engage Manaroo and push multiple attacks on her and keep her in arc, especially Ryad.
Why Dengaroo could win Worlds 2016
May as well cover my back but one of the big threats to Dengaroo, triple Jumpmasters, is gone. Not only that but a lot of the European contingent going to Worlds would have most likely been sporting triple Jumpmaster lists so their preparation and planning will have gone out of the window. The Meta has been blown wide open with the recent FAQ and a good well versed Dengaroo player may fancy their chances if they can plan and execute for dealing with Palp Defenders.
Dengaroo is more of a finesse list than people think it is and requires practice to make your decisions at the right time and to manoeuvre in the right direction and engage your targets carefully. This was Berling’s undoing in the USA National final but a player of that calibre and experience with the list will have learnt from it and should be able to apply it if going to Worlds and taking Dengaroo.
Although Dengaroo will probably be a popular build at Worlds, I feel that only a few good Dengaroo players will get near or make the cut, (depends how big it is though). Anyone making the switch from triple jumpmasters to Dengaroo at the last minute may struggle. Dengaroo seems to have been more popular in the US meta from which it was spawned, whereas triple jumpmasters were not as popular. Therefore one can speculate that as the majority of the field will be locals they will be more used to fighting against Dengaroo on a regular basis and have a strategy in place for dealing with it.
When it comes to the crunch I just don’t see it as being capable of taking down a well flown Palp list or a highly maneuverable combination of ships that can sneak something past to take out Manaroo such as a rebel list with Biggs paired with either Poe or Corran Horn. Also anything that can deal out reliable and accurate automatic damage like Ghost Auto blaster lists hurt it. Most importantly I feel the lack of tactical play options with it make it very easy to plan on how to deal with Dengaroo as it doesn’t change.
Not sure if it would win but look out for Scum Mind Link shenanigans centred around combos of Manaroo and Fenn Rau as well as double ARC-170s with Biggs.
And if you are going to Worlds dont forget to…